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Robin Good's insight:
It is only a matter of time before trusted aggregators and human curators will become the main sources of reliable information for most people.
In fact, the January release of the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer shows that for the first time ever, the informed public trusts more search engines - aka Google - than traditional news and media outlets.
Even more interesting is the fact that "Seventy-two percent trust information posted by friends and family on social media, blogs and other digital sites, while 70 percent trust content posted by academic experts." as it highlights the fact that Google and search engines may be only an intermediary step in the journey toward a news ecosystem that will see trusted human editors, experts and curators for individual subjects who aggregate and curate content from multiple sources as the key reference points for news.
This is must-read data for anyone interested in seeing where the future of news and search are headed.
Enlightening data. 9/10
Living Stories provide a new, experimental way to consume news, developed by a partnership between Google, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. In Li...
Robin Good's insight:
Google Living Stories is an experimental project by Google that showcased (over a brief period between 2009 and 2010) how technology could be used effectively to provide a new, richer and more effective way to organize, serve and present news stories online.
In the Living Stories model, each story is a stream that is continuously updated over time with new updates, additional stories, images, and other multimedia resources that are published over time.
These are organized on the page in a way that provides maximum accessibility to the reader, allowing him to skim, explore, filter or dig in depth into any category or specific item.
Nonetheless abandoned by Google, Living Stories remains a very inspiring example of how automated news aggregation and manual curation, both required in heavy doses to achieve this type of results, could provide a truly innovative mode of producing and offering access to news information.
"The Living Stories code is available as open-source for anyone to use on their own sites at: http://code.google.com/p/living-stories/"
Must see. 9/10
Free to study, use and adopt.
More info and examples: http://livingstories.googlelabs.com/
WordPress plugin: https://code.google.com/p/living-stories/wiki/WordpressInstallation
Robin Good: Krishna Bharat, creator of Google News and now Principle Scientist at Google, spoke at the News World Summit in Bangalore, India.
His focus was on the future of news and on the impotance of curation as well as on what the news will look and "feel" like.
He rightly suggests to news teams to "provide guides to content", not just new content and to deliver information in ways that entice the reader in multiple ways, while providing lots of good and well referenced information.
Excerpted from the original Poynter.org article: "As consumers have access to vast troves of news information from all over the world, Bharat urged news editorial teams to provide a guide to content, not just produce content.
“Creation and curation should be the fundamental activities for your editorial team,” he said.
Bharat said news in the future will become more of an app-like experience, as users adapt the experience to themselves, and as newsrooms provide a more multi-dimensional experience that includes more images and maps.
“The collage tells the story.
This will create a skill set that doesn’t exist yet.”
"The winning experience of the future is fast, tactile, original content, with access to many reputable sources in an appealing narrative form,” Bharat said.
“It is delivered in an appealing, narrative form, encompasses a broader definition of news, and involves audiences with a stake in the story or with expertise."
"News sources can't just give us the facts. They must tell us what those facts mean."
Robin Good's insight:
Here's a refreshing look at the future of news that highlights the importance of going deeper into creating value for readers by providing more focus, relevance, context and opinion.
"News organizations are coy about admitting that what they present us with each day are minuscule extracts of narratives whose true shape and logic can generally only emerge from a perspective of months or even years — and that it would hence often be wiser to hear the story in chapters rather than snatched sentences.
They [news organizations] are institutionally committed to implying that it is inevitably better to have a shaky and partial grasp of a subject this minute than to wait for a more secure and comprehensive understanding somewhere down the line.
We need news organizations to help our curiosity by signaling how their stories fit into the larger themes on which a sincere capacity for interest depends.
To grow interested in any piece of information, we need somewhere to "put" it, which means some way of connecting it to an issue we already know how to care about.
A section of the human brain might be pictured as a library in which information is shelved under certain fundamental categories. Most of what we hear about day to day easily signals where in the stacks it should go and gets immediately and unconsciously filed.
... the stranger or the smaller stories become, the harder the shelving process grows. What we colloquially call "feeling bored" is just the mind, acting out of a self-preserving reflex, ejecting information it has despaired of knowing where to place.
...We might need help in transporting such orphaned pieces of information to the stacks that would most appropriately reveal their logic.
...it is news organizations to take on some of this librarian's work. It is for them to give us a sense of the larger headings under which minor incidents belong."
The call for understanding how much greater value can be provided by curating news and information in depth, rather than by following the shallow, buzzy and viral path beaten by HuffPo, Buzzfeed and the rest of the gang, is clear.
But beyond context and depth, real value can only be added if we accept the fact that going beyond the classic "objective fact reporting", by adding opinion and bias in a transparent fashion, can actually provide greater value in many ways, as Alain de Botton clearly explains:
"Unfortunately for our levels of engagement, there is a prejudice at large within many news organizations that the most prestigious aspect of journalism is the dispassionate and neutral presentation of "facts."
The problem with facts is that there is nowadays no shortage of sound examples. The issue is not that we need more of them, but that we don't know what to do with the ones we have...
...But what do these things actually mean? How are they related to the central questions of political life? What can they help us to understand?
...The opposite of facts is bias. In serious journalistic quarters, bias has a very bad name. It is synonymous with malevolent agendas, lies, and authoritarian attempts to deny audiences the freedom to make up their own minds.
Yet we should perhaps be more generous toward bias.
In its pure form, a bias simply indicates a method of evaluating events that is guided by a coherent underlying thesis about human functioning and flourishing.
It is a pair of lenses that slide over reality and aim to bring it more clearly into focus.
Bias strives to explain what events mean and introduces a scale of values by which to judge ideas and events. It seems excessive to try to escape from bias per se; the task is rather to find ways to alight on its more reliable and fruitful examples.
There are countless worthy lenses to slide between ourselves and the world."
Overall, these ideas offer a truly refreshing look at the future of news and at the relevance that context and opinion could play in transforming this medium from a vehicle of mass distraction to one of focused learning and understanding for those interested.
Must read. Rightful. Insightful. 9/10
Reading time: 10':20"
Robin Good's insight:
It's the second time that I go back to this insightful article by Jonathan Stray, dating back to 2011, but which was visionary and rightful then as it is still now. The first time I did, right after it came out, I didn't actually realize in full how relevant and important was the idea being communicated through it.
On the surface the article talks about an hypotethical Editorial Search Engine as a desirable news app. But if you look just beyond the surface, which is by itself fascinating, in essence, Mr. Stray indicates how useful and effective it would be if news publishers moved on from reporting and into 100% curated coverage of a certain topic, issue or story, opening a fascinating discovery gateway around each story and allowing in time for these streams to intersect and interconnect with each other.
By doing this, we can not only make the news much more interesting and relevant, but we can transform them into instruments for in-depth learning about anything we are interested in.
In this light the future of news could be very much about Comprehensively Informing an Audience on a Specific Topic. And if you stop enough time to re-read it and think about it, this is a pretty powerful and revolutionary concept by itself.
He specifically writes: "Rather than (always, only) writing stories, we should be trying to solve the problem of comprehensively informing the user on a particular topic."
"Choose a topic and start with traditional reporting, content creation, in-house explainers and multimedia stories. Then integrate a story-specific search engine that gathers together absolutely everything else that can be gathered on that topic, and applies whatever niche filtering, social curation, visualization, interaction and communication techniques are most appropriate."
Jonathan Stray makes also a very inspiring connection to Jay Rosen of NYU and his idea of covering 100% of a story which in my view correctly anticipated the niche content curation trend while going beyond it in its effort to explore gateways to innovation.
Insightful. Visionary. Inspiring. 9/10
Original article (2011): http://jonathanstray.com/the-editorial-search-engine
(Image credit: Train tracks by Shutterstock)